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Is anything still Made in Britain?

…and what will happen when it no longer becomes cost effective to source from the Far East?

These are a couple of the questions that I have been asking myself over the last few years.

Having worked in fashion design and buying for the past two decades I have seen a seismic shift in the way that the clothes and accessories that we buy in the UK are sourced.

When I worked at Burberry in the late ’90s there was still a factory manufacturing trench coats downstairs in the head office, as they had done for over a century. Fast forward ten years and Burberry, an iconic British brand, had closed all of it’s production units in the UK bar one, claiming that they were no longer commercially viable.

In my last role, as a buyer for a UK department store, all of my ranges were manufactured in either China or India. Yes, prices were low and margins were high, but lead times were long and flexibility was hard to come by. Samples took ages to arrive and if they weren’t right it would be weeks before reworks were sent.

I wanted to find a way to support UK manufacturing. Could I set up a website bringing all of the brands together? and would anyone want to buy something just because it was made in Britain? Would I miss the direct contact with the factories that I had before? After all, I had spent the last twenty years designing and developing product, and that was the part of my job that I loved the most.

This blog will report my ongoing mission to support the manufacturing of clothes and accessories made in the UK. Please follow me on my journey…

Comments

  1. Ron Taylor on April 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Manufacturing is alive in the UK, but we do need to find other, more modern outlets. We have moved to internet sales trying our own e-commerce site as well as e-bay and an ebay rival called ebid.co.uk

    We also use social networking
    Twitter: @graphskill where we have launched the #ukmfg and #ukmanufacturing tags to follow (we also have a twibbon)

    And linkedin, where we have a group called Manufacturing in the UK (http://linkd.in/gvoVqe)

    And of course, where would modern manufacturing be without a blog? http://www.blog.graphskill.co.uk/

    • Kate H on April 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Ron

      Thanks for letting us know about your Linked In group and Twitter tags. Let’s help spread the word about UK manufacturing 🙂

      Kate

  2. Cecilia on July 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    john smedley, albam, aquascutum, brora. If you look carefully you´ll find them. I have it a sport finding clothing and other things made locally as possible since 2006. I spent lots of time looking and looking. I see that it actually is financially, ethically and politically rewarding being this conscious.

    • Kate H on July 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      Cecilia you are right, if you look then you will find clothes made in the UK.
      The trouble is that you have to look quite hard to find them and that shouldn’t be the case.
      That’s why I set up this site, because i wanted to make it easier for people to find things that were made in the UK.
      If anyone has a designer or brand that they would like to put forward then please get in touch via the Contact page of this site as I’m always looking for new things to add. Thanks!

  3. Barbara Scott on April 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Dear Kate

    I am about to set up a little business in a town close to London. I intend to sell clothes which are made in UK. I am still looking for companies who would be interested to work with me. I will not have all they stock in my shop but instead I will have samples in all variety of size and colour.The idea is for people to see,feel and try the clothes on .If they like them and are happy to pay for them I will be ordering directly through the company,to be delivered to my store or they home address.

    If you have any suggestions , I would love to hear from you

    Many thanks

    Regards

    Barbara

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